Companies are pouring millions into ‘digital transformation’ initiatives — but a high percentage of those fail to pay off.

That is because companies put the cart before the horse, focusing on a specific technology (“we need a machine-learning strategy!”) rather than doing the hard work of fitting the change into the overall business strategy first.

Not only should they align tech investments with business goals — they should also lean more on insider knowledge than outside consultants, acknowledge fears about job loss that those insiders may have, develop deep knowledge of how changes will affect customer experience, and use process techniques borrowed from the tech world (e.g experimentation, prototyping, etc.) to facilitate change.

What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is a way of describing the blurring of boundaries between the physical, digital, and biological worlds. It is a fusion of advances in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, genetic engineering, quantum computing, and other technologies.

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How will it affect your business?

As these technologies change what’s possible, they’re also transforming customers’ expectations, with technology enabling businesses to offer greater personalisation and more valuable, connected experiences across online channels. Customers already have more options than ever, and they’re not afraid to switch brands for a better experience.

Digital transformation definition

Digital transformation is the cultural, organisational and operational change of an organisation, industry or ecosystem through a smart integration of digital technologies, processes and competencies across all levels and functions in a staged and strategic way, leverages technologies to create value and new services for various stakeholders, innovate and acquire the capabilities to rapidly adapt to changing circumstances.

Present and future shifts and changes, leading to the necessity of a faster deployment of a digital transformation strategy, can be induced by several causes, often at the same time, on the levels of customer behaviour and expectations, new economic realities, societal shifts , ecosystem/industry disruption and emerging or existing digital technologies.

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Technical leadership

  • Hiring: Recruiting the best and brightest engineering talents is vital to a good technical leader, but so is diversity and inclusion. A functional team is a team that encompasses all points of view and voices.
  • Motivation: As the leader of the team, you teach through example. In technical leadership, perhaps more so than other leadership fields, it boils down to a bottom-up approach: being a servant to the team, working side-by-side with them to help them solve problems and achieve their goals.
  • Scale: Engineering leaders delegate and ensure their team is efficient and productive. They protect their team from distractions and interruptions by juggling all the many stakeholders’ needs and wishes while making stable, clear decisions. This empowers the group to work efficiently and productively, allowing business to scale.
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Why do some DT efforts succeed whilst others fail?

Fundamentally, it’s because most digital technologies provide possibilities for efficiency gains and customer intimacy. However, if people lack the right mindset to change and the current organisational practices are flawed, DT will simply magnify those flaws.

It is paramount for any project to succeed and take on characteristics of fourth industrial revolution by having a 360-degree organisational view.

Ask yourself, who else will this affect, and which departments will be involved in using this solution? This will allow you to gather the proper insight into the needs of the entire organisation.

If your organisation disregard this, you could end up with a solution that only fits your department, while leaving other stakeholders without a viable product. Additionally, when other groups are involved, you can increase the likelihood of adoption and the potential for increasing the budget for a more comprehensive solution.

Ultimately, when done correctly, this will improve the employee experience for the whole organisation.